Usually, whenever a writer poses a question as a headline, it's something you either can't answer or otherwise don't want to answer. Then there are articles like this:
Well, I know why I hate them. Perhaps it's the Saints fan in me, but I like my winners to be approachable and inspiring. I like a team with fans that, even after a bitter loss, will welcome visiting fans to the French Quarter afterward. I like a coach who can be funny even when he's being cranky. "I want a piece of Juicy Fruit!" I like a perpetual underdog, even in victory. I like a fan base that's used to losing for so long that, when they win, they see it as a fun ride and stay classy in victory.
The Saints are Rocky. The Patriots are Ivan Drago.
Yes, I'm aware of the irony in metaphorically comparing the American football Patriots to the ultimate symbol of ruthless Soviet domination. Hear me out. Or, rather, hear Dave Dameshek out (who, incidentally, isn't a Pats fan):
"In a lot of ways, the Patriots are a natural fit as America's team. After all, they wear red, white and blue and are named after the men who gave this country our liberty."
It's kind of stupid for any NFL team to be "America's Team." Every team in the league is in America, at least for now. If you wouldn't chant "U-S-A! U-S-A!" at an NFL game, you shouldn't feel the need to equate one team with the whole country.
The Saints helping New Orleans cope with overwhelming tragedy would be as close to an exception as you can get, but even then, it seems a bit haughty and presumptuous. As for the Dallas Cowboys calling themselves that? Ick.
Still, both teams deserve the moniker more than the Patriots. The Patriots represent America only in the way that flag-waving right-wingers do: with all the right colors and self-professed superiority, while Big Daddy Boss prowls humorlessly with cameras on you at all times.
"In their first Super Bowl appearance, they eschewed the tradition of being introduced individually in favor of selflessly hitting the field as one unit."
Yeah, back in their first Brady-era Super Bowl, when the Rams were the Greatest Show on Turf and Tom Brady, in my Patriot fan friend's words, "will never measure up to Drew Bledsoe. Tom Brady. Pffft." I actively cheered for those Patriots. That was before they became the Rams, and them multiplied it times 1,000.
"Tom Brady is exceptionally likable, save the occasional 'up yours' spikes in the end zone near completion of another blowout."
That's like saying someone is a great husband, except when they punch their wives in the face.
Tom Brady reminds me of every high school or college athlete/performer I ever knew who was more robot than human being. Yeah, he was good, but he'd also never hesitate to shove you out of the way if you got too close to him on the street. Meanwhile, he got all the girls and all the success without actually seeming to enjoy any of it. And for that, you hated him. You didn't hate him because he was successful; you hated that success was wasted on such a karmic black hole. And it's not that you wish any ill will toward him, but he even has good days when he gets T-boned in his car.
Also, he's not a classy competitor. He's on top of the world when he wins, but this is what he looks like when he loses:
|I must break you.|
After the Saints shellacked the Patriots 38-17 last year, Brady kept referring to the Saints as "that team." Stay classy!
And yes, I'm the same way. But I'm not a pro who's had training on handling these situations.
I'm hardly the biggest Ravens fan, especially today, but I'd rather see them (or anyone else in the AFC) in the Super Bowl instead of the Patriots.
I don't want to have to pull for the Falcons. Come on, Saints! And AFC!